New Study Reveals AI’s Carbon Footprint is Much Lower Than Humans’
A new study published in Social Science Research Network found that AI systems have a much lower carbon footprint than humans for tasks such as writing and creating illustrations.
The researchers compared the emissions generated by AI systems like ChatGPT and DALL-E to the emissions generated by an average human completing the same tasks. They found that the AI systems emitted 130 to 1500 times less CO2 per page of text and 310 to 2900 times less per image. Researchers calculated the carbon footprint of the AI systems by looking at the emissions from training the models and from generating each individual response. Even when factoring in energy used for model training, the AI systems were far more efficient than humans. The emissions generated by a laptop or desktop computer used by a human were also greater than the AI systems. The researchers note that AI could play an important role in reducing emissions for certain activities. However, they stress that AI does not substitute for all human tasks and that factors like job displacement must be considered. They suggest collaboration between AI and humans as the best approach in many fields.
While AI emissions may grow as the technology advances, this study highlights an important benefit of AI systems as they stand today. It adds a new perspective to concerns about the carbon footprint of AI by comparing it directly to human activities. Even with current technology, AI enables the completion of common tasks at much lower emissions than humans can achieve.